The five-area cash steer price ended the week higher at $123.86 on a live basis, up $1.49 from last week, and cash dressed sales averaged $196.86, up $3.86. All state/regional markets had not seen enough volume to report prices.
In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were $3-$5 higher, calves were higher on a light test. In Mississippi auction markets feeder steers were steady to $10 higher, steer calves were steady to $7 higher, feeder heifers were steady to $4 higher, and heifer calves were $3-$4 higher. Slaughter cows in Mississippi sold steady to $4 higher and bulls were $1-$4 higher.
Live cattle futures improved again this week. Despite a lack of cash trade volume higher prices are being reported for cattle exiting feedlots. Also, much improved wholesale beef prices (with Choice finishing the week above the $190 mark) helped add support. The Zilmax drama continued this week. First, other packing facilities noted they would continue to purchase cattle that are fed Zilmax. Then, on Friday, Merck announced they were halting sales of the product to conduct some research on the feed additive’s animal health impact. USDA released their monthly supply and demand estimates on Monday. The report revealed an increase of beef production for the second half of 2013, compared to the July estimates. Also, first quarter 2014 production was revised higher, but second quarter projections were lowered (compared to last month’s report).
The supply and demand report was bullish for corn prices as ending stocks were lowered from last month’s estimate, and the reported value was lower than most pre-report estimates. The helped push prices higher but was followed by a correction on Tuesday as markets closed lower. Thursday, USDA’s Farm Service Agency released the acres from producer’s planted, failed and “prevented” crops. This showed corn acres lower than those released in Monday’s reports.
Momentum continued for wholesale boxed beef prices. Choice carcasses finished with a weekly average of $192.13, up $4.21, and Select moved $3.16 higher finishing at $184.59.
Note: Unless noted otherwise, all prices quoted are dollars per hundredweight for cattle and beef and dollars per bushel for corn.